When it comes to German utilitarian vehicles, the Unimog is the be-all, end-all; a half-tractor, half-urban assault vehicle. But Austria offered an interesting and less agricultural way to achieve the same goal. Built in Graz, Steyr-Daimler-Puch (usually shortened to Steyr-Puch) offered two platforms for military and industrial all-road capability. Starting in 1954, the first was the Haflinger, and it was anything but traditional. Named for the famed sure-footed breed of Austrian mountain horses, unlike a usual body-over-frame design, the Haflinger employed lightweight yet rigid casings around its drivetrain, highlighted by a central tube which connected the front and rear drive sections. This formed the basis for the structural rigidity of the Haflinger. A platform was then mounted above to carry passengers and cargo. Though they looked quite light-duty as a result and indeed tipped the scales at a scant 1,300 lbs, the off-road capability was anything but lightweight. Portal axles with gear reduction, independent coil springs and manual locking differentials gave supreme off-road capability. Power for such a small package was modest, with the flat-twin cranking out about 30 horsepower in .6 liter form as we see here. While you might not be going anywhere fast, you were certain to get there no matter where “there” was.
For reasons that shall not be discussed, I was subjected to my first complete episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” this weekend. It displayed the epitome of German brands’ downfall in terms of true cachet with enthusiasts as the once-rare-and-cool Geländewagen rolled through LA, insane supercharged V8 and all. So while I get very excited by weird German firetrucks, these days you do run the risk of people thinking this is Justin Bieber’s newest joke way to wrap his car.
In the end though, screw whoever thinks that. This was an Austrian fire chief’s chosen transport, and it’s so Austrian it has Puch emblems instead of three-pointed stars (Steyr-Puch built the Geländewagens in Austria back then). So, for those that actually care, this fire truck lights all the candles on the obscure scale.
Model: 230G Geländewagen
Engine: 2.3 liter inline-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 86,467 km (~ 53,728 mi)
We are pleased to offer for consideration a 1980 Mercedes/Puch 230G Fire Command Vehicle. Steyr-Puch produced “G-Wagons” for Mercedes-Benz to distribute. This vehicle is labeled with Puch placards because it was a Chief’s vehicle in Austria. It was bought from Germany and imported to the United States for a collector here.
The G series are world renown for their all-terrain durability. They were originally used exclusively as military vehicles before civilian versions were produced in 1979. The “popemobile” used by Pope John Paul II was a 230G. They are incredibly durable and very fun to drive.
The engine for Puch 230G is a 230 cubic inch inline 4 cylinder gasoline fed engine. The 4-speed manual is very smooth to make for comfortable driving. This fire command vehicle was used by a Fire Chief to respond to incidents in Stopfenreuth Austria.
I have to admit, I’m not an SUV fan. For my purposes, at least, these vehicles are of little use. That being said, there are a few I admire for their capability and design. The original Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen come to mind. Oh yeah, and this thing, the Pinzgauer. While this vehicle isn’t German, it’s made in Austria by the same folks who had a hand in developing the Geländewagen, Steyr-Puch. Production of the first generation Pinzgauer ran from 1971 through 2000 in both 4×4 and 6×6 models. Powered by an air cooled inline four cylinder engine with dual carburetors, these vehicles are noted for their durability. Other features include a two speed transfer case, hydraulically actuated locking differential hubs and a 24 volt electrical system. While they don’t have a huge following in this country, you do see them around from time to time. Incidentally, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger owns two of them.
If you are familiar with the 712 Pinzgauer, you know it is a “go anywhere” vehicle! With three driving axles and dash lock-in hubs on all axles and high ground clearance, it truly will go anywhere. I purchase it in 2006, have added 100 miles and always stored inside. Includes tool kit, space tire and English manuals. The vehicle is in very good condition, everything works. Vehicle is” for sale” local, Seller reserves right to end sale at any time. Thanks for looking.
During the last blizzard here in Arlington, Virginia, a 4×4 Pinzgauer passed me on the street. I instantly knew what it was but had to do a double take because I had never seen one in person in the US that I can remember. This beast didn’t miss a beat through snow drifts measuring several feet high.…